95% of Inside Sales Teams Sales Are Irrelevant with Key Accounts on LinkedIn

Author: Kristina Jaramillo, Personal ABM
Posted: October 21st, 2020

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To respond to the “digital movement” that was created by C-19 and the pausing of live events and in-person meetings, companies like NetApp reorganized their sales organizations. They turned inside sales teams into “digital sales response” teams where it’s their responsibility to move stuck accounts that came in from digital channels. These teams need to build the necessary relationships and provide unconsidered value but, they are challenged because they are showing little to no relevance.

Because LinkedIn’s 2020 State of Sales Report showed that 44% of companies are seeing a significant decrease in responsiveness to outreach because of C-19, I had my team review LinkedIn profiles, content and messaging to see why.  We found a disturbing trend. At least 95 percent of LinkedIn profiles show little to no relevance to the key accounts they want to win or the key customers they want to keep or expand. We figured we would see an improvement over time as we become more reliant on social media to build strong relationships, but the irrelevance trend continued as leadership, sales and marketing teams pushed out more invites to connect and more messaging.

When Looking at the Profiles of Inside Sales Teams We Found That Profiles Do Not:

  • Show an alignment with the buyers’ new priorities and the challenges buyers face.
  • Tell a relevant business story for prospects, customers and investors to make an emotional, human-to-human connection. While everyone is social distancing, this connection is more important now than ever.
  • Speak directly to the accounts they want as there is no tailoring.
  • Teach for differentiation and show unique value. Prospects need to see how you will fill an account/market gap and the personal impacts you can have. In most cases, there are no customer stories throughout the profile that support the claims that leadership, sales and marketing teams make.
  • Share relevant content that reframes the thoughts of investors and prospects, tell stories, make a business case, and build confidence and trust. Nearly three in five profiles did not share any media nor was there use of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. Of those who did share media, irrelevant images, such as a snapshot from a conference booth, were the most common. When the publishing platform was used, in many cases, the articles were at least one to two years old. And, very few shared video (17 percent).

LinkedIn Profiles Are Simply Resumes and Do Not Build Trust with Prospects

LinkedIn’s 2020 State of Sales Report also showed that 62 percent of decision-makers look for an informative LinkedIn profile when considering connecting to or talking with business leadership or sales. Yet, most of the profiles we reviewed are:

  • Just a listing of employers, roles and accomplishments that have no relevant value to the targeted audience. For example, we found that many inside sales leaders talk about hitting or exceeding their pipeline quotas. Inside sales teams are actually showing target accounts that their sole interest is in turning them into a sales opportunity –not in building a relationship based on value. Where is the trust building?
  • Written in third person, which creates an automatic disconnect. No one talks about themselves in third person at a live event. So why are inside sales teams talking about themselves in third person on social media where they should be making a human-to-human connection?
  • Focused on the past versus the present and the future. Prospects need to see how you can help them now with their current situation and that you will continue to evolve and help them achieve their future, long-term goals.

The Lack of Relevance Is Not Limited to Profiles.

When we reviewed the connection invites and nurture messages that my team received during the past four months, we noticed that inside sales teams are not being personal. They’re reading as if the messages are fill-in-the-blank templates, which means inside sales teams are speaking “at” accounts and rather than to people.

Can this be the reason over one-third (34 percent) of respondents to a Pipedrive State of Sales survey mentioned that they think prospecting is going to be the biggest challenge for salespeople in 2020? If you are not relevant, how can you build trust and a strong digital relationship with buyers?

In times of uncertainty, trust only becomes more important. Not surprisingly, as organizational trust erodes, buyers seem to crave it even more. When Edelman surveyed buyers on the qualities they value in a salesperson, they ranked “trustworthy” (47 percent) at the top, followed by “responsive” (44 percent) and “expert in the field” (40 percent). The sales teams that are successful (even now when it seems like no one is buying) are seen as “trusted advisors.”

Inside Sales Teams Can Build Trust and Strong Digital Relationships with Prospects By Having Profiles and Messaging That:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of their targeted audience’s business needs.
  • Show a clear understanding of the targeted audience’s role in the decision-making process.
  • Go beyond personalization and provide personal messaging. Inside sales teams need to speak to the humans within target accounts rather than at them.
  • Share content that is applicable and relevant to their decision-making process. This is why we say content should always start with the selling conversations you want to have with prospects or investors.
  • Build a consensus with decision-makers and influencers.

Through our virtual LinkedIn training, you will see why inside sales teams should invest in personal branding on LinkedIn, as well as how they can better communicate their unique value. You can get the on-demand training at http://stopthesalesdrop.com/linkedintraining


About the Author:

Kristina Jaramillo, president of Personal ABM and partner at Stop the Sales Drop, helps leadership, sales and marketing teams win, protect, and expand deals with target accounts. By shifting social communications and increasing relevance on LinkedIn, Kristina’s team created $2M wins with accounts that were previously unresponsive for 5+ years.

Learn more about Kristina’s personal account-based approaches for winning on LinkedIn by registering for her upcoming LinkedIn training at: http://stopthesalesdrop.com/linkedintraining.


Sales Research, Social Media


Research, Relationship, Trust, LinkedIn, Message